There has been much talk that finally the East Bronx is on track to getting 4 new Metro North Stations (making for a total of 17 stations in The Bronx) bringing direct access into Manhattan as well as towards employment centers up north in Westchester County and Connecticut. While this is all great news for the county with the highest rate of reverse commuters in the nation, it does nothing for the majority who still work in Manhattan and will have to pay the current peak fare. The same goes for the proposed ferry service for Soundview.
Currently, those in the area who utilize express bus service into Manhattan for their weekly commute pay either $6.00 each way if they’re purchasing single rides or $55/week for 10 round trip peak fare rides downtown ($220 a month for those doing the math). The average Jane and Joe who cannot afford express bus service are stuck taking the longer route and paying the $2.75 single ride fare each way, $30 week for unlimited rides or $112 a month for unlimited rides.
The way Metro North fares are set up today, a one way trip downtown costs $8.25 from any Bronx Metro North Station whether you’re as far north as Riverdale or as close as Melrose which is 2 stops into Grand Central Terminal. $193 gets you a monthly pass into Manhattan — $81 more than your regular monthly unlimited subway and bus trip. Those who may want to use the new stations instead of the express buses will find themselves having to pay two fares: One for a bus to get to the new stations and one for Metro North itself.
The MTA needs to come up with special fares for Bronx residents commuting downtown in order for this to be an equitable system for all residents. It is much cheaper for a Bronx resident to commute into White Plains in Westchester County where they can get a monthly pass for just $72 or a weekly for $22.25.
Earlier this year, the projected completion date for this project was by 2019 since most of the infrastructure is already laid out, however, we know we can add a couple of years or more to that date simply based on previous (and current) MTA projects. This gives Bronx residents enough time to lobby the MTA for better fare structure that would truly serve the residents of the Bronx and not just one segment of the population.
We’re all for improved Mass Transit access for our neighborhoods and city but we’re also advocates for an equitable system.
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